Street Address
106 11th Ave SW
Olympia, WA 98501
Mailing Address
106 11th Ave SW
Olympia, WA 98507
phone: 360-956-0818
Monday - Saturday10 AM - 5 PM
Sunday12 PM - 5 PM
Adults (13 and up): $7.95
Seniors (62 and up): $6.95
Members: free
Children (2-12 yrs): $4
Babies under 12 months: Free
Toddlers 12-23 months: $5.95
Patty Belmonte, Executive Director
phone: 360-956-0818
Conor Schober, Events & Marketing Coordinator
phone: 360-956-0818 x105


Hands On is designed for parent-child interaction, so you can have fun too! Add to your child's Museum experience by talking with them about what they see and do as they visit the exhibits.


The Hands On Children's Museum stimulates curiosity, creativity and learning through fun, interactive exhibits and programs for children, families and school groups. At Hands On, we believe that all children deserve respect and the opportunity to learn and that families are important as children's first teachers and as their partners in learning. Our programs and participatory exhibits are designed specifically to encourage interaction and inquiry, as well as participation from the entire family. We believe that learning occurs in a variety of ways, and that experiential learning is essential for proper brain development. At Hands On, we know that communities are enriched when diverse groups work creatively together to educate our children. We actively partner with social service agencies, public schools, service clubs, public libraries, and other community organizations to bring interactive education to the community.


Since its founding in 1987, Hands On has evolved from a fledgling "museum without walls" to the premier provider of hands-on science and art education in Southwest Washington. In 1998, the Museum moved from the tiny storefront facility to its current location on the State's Capitol Campus. After just three years in this location, Hands On hosted more visitors per square foot than any other children?s Museum in the Northwest! In the past 10 years, the Museum has outgrown its space three times and recently won $9 million in Public Facility District funds to be used to construct a permanent facility on Olympia?s downtown waterfront.

Educational Programs


  • PlayWise: Early Learning Program for Children 2-5 years and their parents or caregivers, Every Friday, Regular Hours (Sep-May) Summer Hours (June -Aug), 10-11am & 11:30-12:30pm Fridays 11am-12pm
  • Free Friday Nights from 5:30-7:30pm: Our Early Learning Specialist leads you and your child through Activity Stations, Storytime and an Art Project to help you develop in your important role as your child's first teacher. Free with museum admission or membership.
  • FREE Friday Nights: FREE Museum admission 5 pm-9 pm on the first Friday night of every month! A different theme, featuring special guests and activities, each month!
  • Parent Education Classes: Hands On occasionally offers special classes for non-traditional parent groups, such as Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, Foster Parents, and Families of Children with Autism.
  • Power Parenting Series: 1st Tuesday of every month, 6pm - 8 pm, Learn how to master those difficult parenting challenges. Meet and exchange ideas with other parents as your children enjoy FREE supervised play in the Museum! Pre-registration is required to ensure adequate staffing for childcare. To register, call Hands On at (360) 956-0818 or the Family Support Center at (360) 754-2629. *Parents bringing children need to arrive by 5:50pm to allow for transition time. For a list of current topics and speakers, call Hands On. Co-sponsored by the Family Support Center.
  • Reading Nooks & Parent Resource Center: Visit our Reading Nook & Parent Resource Center in the Museum's Early Learning Gallery. Provided in conjunction with South Sound Reading Foundation and Providence Maternal Health.
  • Special Guests & Events: Visiting Artists; Hands On invites professional guest artists from around the region to make special appearances, teach workshops, and display their art in our Museum galleries.
  • Museum Guests: Throughout the year, Hands On welcomes special community guests who share their time and talents with the Museum. Recently, we've hosted: The Budd Bay Buccaneers - Sea Shanties and Songs of the Sea; Wild Washington with the Tacoma Nature Center; Children's performer Johnny Keener; Glass mosaics with Central GlassWorks; Wild animals from Experience Nature Project; Harmonica Pocket; ...and more!
  • Special Event Outreach: Hands On participates in many community events, providing Museum staff to lead fun, educational activities for children of all ages.


Performance Areas


Wheelchair Accessible


Hands On Parties

Hands On Parties are available 7 days a week! Choose from 5 exciting party packages to fit every budget including the all inclusive Blow-Out and Themed parties, after hour private museum parties, weekday Bargain parties and more!